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Word of the Day
Friday, January 11, 2019

Definitions for terraform

  1. to alter the environment of (a celestial body) in order to make capable of supporting terrestrial lifeforms.

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Citations for terraform
... Dr. Shara said he strongly suspected that we will terraform Mars. “It goes with the human propensity for expansionism, colonization, the need to be real estate developers.” Dennis Overbye, "Oh, the Places We Could Go," New York Times, November 14, 2011
... the Old Race became able to terraform planets that had previously been beyond their powers. John Brunner, The Psionic Menace, 1963
Origin of terraform
Readers of science fiction already know that terraform means to transform a hostile planet to one suitable for supporting terrestrial life. The Latin noun terra “earth, land, dry land” comes from an unattested noun tersā, from the Proto-Indo-European root ters- “dry,” source of Germanic (English) thirst. Latin forma looks somehow related to Greek morphḗ “form, shape, figure” and is possibly a borrowing from Greek through Etruscan. Morphḗ and forma are the sole representatives of an otherwise isolated root merph- “form,” Latin forma showing metathesis of m and ph (ph becoming f in Latin). Terraform entered English in the mid-20th century.